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I was digging through my old laptop’s hard drive and came across these photos from 2010 and I just had to share: what better way to see in the new year than to reminisce about the antepenultimate one.

We were on a visit to Kew Gardens in May. It had been a lovely visit, from the boat ride there to the new treetops walk. Just as we were trawling through the bookshop and debating what to have for dinner, we decided to walk round the lake one last time and see if we could photograph the parakeets in mid flight. That was the best decision we made all day.

There, by the reed’s edge, we encountered a mother swan and her nest. The father was just beyond the reeds and he was not pleased to see us! We’ve had a parent swan attack the car in Bluewater so he wouldn’t think twice about going for us and, up close, they’re big birds. We agreed to move fast if he came any closer. The mother didn’t even seem to notice our presence. We stayed very still as she moved away from the nest and gave us a look at her clutch: she had two adorable chicks already – one of which looked maybe minutes old at most. We were standing three feet away. We couldn’t have been any closer without climbing into the nest with them.

After a few minutes, she came back and settled herself on top of the nest – ruffling up her feathers around the chicks. We went home feeling we had witnessed something really special.



One soft and dry; the other all wet.

One soft and dry; the other all wet.

Signet chicks

How adorable are they!

Mum swan and chicks

Mum checking in.

Mother swan on her nest

Nesting swan flashes her uropygial gland at us.